OGDEN — There’s no shortage of demand among the elderly to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
As of late Monday afternoon, around 6,500 people 70 and older in Weber and Morgan counties had put their names on the waiting list to be vaccinated when vaccinations in the age group begin in Ogden on Jan. 19. That was up from 4,500 as of Monday morning, according to Lori Buttars, spokesperson for the Weber-Morgan Health Department.
“I would say it’s overwhelming,” Buttars said, describing the response to Gov. Spencer Cox’s announcement Friday lowering the age of one of the next groups in line to get vaccines from 75 to 70. “When he made the announcement, our phones started ringing.”
The news comes as the COVID-19 case count for Weber and Morgan counties reaches a new high, 1,895 for the week ending Jan. 9. The previous high was 1,800 for the week ending Dec. 5, according to Weber-Morgan Health Department data, and the numbers declined in the weeks that followed only to move back up starting in late December.
Notwithstanding Cox’s announcement Friday, the vaccinations of those 70 and over won’t occur immediately. The health department here gets around 1,300 COVID-19 vaccine doses a week from the state and is in the midst of vaccinating non-hospital health care workers, tapping into the allotment. Teachers in Weber and Morgan counties will also start getting vaccinated this week, and they, too, will tap into the vaccines coming from the state.
“The good thing about this is we’ll give it away as soon as we get it,” Buttars said. But the time it takes to handle the vaccinations will depend on how much vaccine the county gets. There are around 8,000 teachers in the three public school districts in Weber and Morgan counties.
The vaccinations of those 70 and up will occur at the Dee Events Center on the Weber State University campus, same as non-hospital health care workers, who started getting vaccines last week. Those wanting to get on the waiting list may sign up online. A post on the Weber-Morgan Health Department Facebook page, facebook.com/webermorganhealth, links to the registration form. Those who don’t have access to email or the internet may call 801-399-7777 to get on the list, according to Buttars.
Meantime, the Utah Department of Health continues with its offer of free COVID-19 tests. The department offered free testing last week and that continues Monday and Tuesday from 3-7 p.m. each day at the Ogden School District headquarters campus, Building 8, 1950 Monroe Blvd.
The Utah National Guard announced that nine service members started helping a St. George long-term care facility tasked with helping care for the overflow of patients as the state’s intensive-care units fill due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More overflow patients may also be sent to long-term health care facilities in Ogden and elsewhere for care.
“Additional (Utah National Guard) teams remain on standby and are trained and ready to lend support to facilities located in Ogden, Salt Lake City and Orem,” the National Guard said in a statement.
The National Guard soldiers and airmen are helping with COVID-19 testing and other things and will be redeployed as the situation merits. “Our service members are eager to help out and make a difference while they support the COVID-19 response in another capacity,” Col. Tammy Manwaring, commander of the COVID-19 Task Force, said in a statement.